Mythology & History of Lughnasadh:
Lughnasadh is the celebration of the Mother as she readies to birth her nature for humankind. It is the feast of the fruits and flowers, calling on the elements of water and earth to honor the wells and the mountains; the first harvest and the transition of Summer into Fall. Here we honor both gods and goddesses in celebration of the shadow and the light, the mysteries, the warmth of the Sun and the cool cycles of the Moon.
As the Wheel of the Year turns upward from the South into the West, we meet Lugh (lookgh) a highly skilled immortal who eventually, after many trials, comes back to live at Tara, hill of kings. Born of the Tuatha De Danann (tuaoa die danan), a tribe known as the gods of humanity, he makes his way home after years of fosterage and helps his people wrestle Ireland from the rule of the Fomoraig (Fomorians), the gods of chaos and wild nature.
Lugh is a god of light, and nasadh is the binding promise he made to his foster mother, Tailtiu, Queen of the Fir Bolg tribe that preceded even the Tuatha De Danann. As the Queen lay dying of exhaustion from clearing the whole of Ireland for agriculture, Lughnasadh, was born as her funereal festival.
More than just an acknowledgment of a mother passing into the otherworld, Lughnasadh is symbolic of the agreement between all living beings and our planet, an honoring of the last sheath of grain, woven through corn husks in the image of woman. These corn dollies were the effigies and receptacles for all woes and shadow states of the tribe that were absorbed and held throughout the year by women. These energies were finally purged at Lughnasadh into the corn dolls during their making, then burned to transmute the energy, using the dross to fertilize new ground for Spring planting.
Feasting on the harvest; singing and dancing to celebrate hand-fasting; competitive games for the men to prove their physical prowess was equal to that of Lugh; the long arms of heat from bonfires that lit up the night sky, symbolizing the powerful light of the Sun in Lugh, and the torches carried only by goddesses who’d been into the underworld and back again. This is the festival of victory–the brilliant light against the powers of darkness–as the Wheel turns once more into the West.
Maker of the seasons and birth mother of the Wheel, Demeter is a Greek triple goddess; mother to Persephone, daughter of Hecate. As the goddess of grain she offers the food of life to humans. She is the goddess of all seasons, giving us birth in the Spring, life in the Summer and death in the Fall; then she gives us an opportunity for rebirth again after meeting our shadows in the lonely months of Winter.
Invoking the Gods and the Goddesses of Lughnasadh:
Three faces of the goddess, three phases of the moon, Demeter, as creatrix of the seasons, you personify the birth, the love and the death. You are the mother who rescues herself as the daughter Persephone when she drinks the inter-dimensional brew. Meeting grandmother Hecate in the shadowy darkness of her own underworld, you become sage and expansive in a place where until now, only Hades has flourished.
While stumbling about in the dark, your angry stick stirs the cauldron of remembering. Drop by drop– because mother courage effortlessly drags the lost maiden from her cowering place under the blight of the crone–the essential brew of life dribbles onto stone. It transforms youth into maturity and love to a Queen’s reign.
Steamy and sizzling, the ground cracks wide open under your feet. As rock disintegrates into dust, you fall and your fearful, thunderous rage ignites chaotic static in the air. It fills the sky with bolts of light, surprisingly and safely guiding you through the expanding crevasse into a gateway.
Though you tumble and bounce, still trying to fly, your eyes are flashing and keen. You scan, searching for the edges of a veil that exists for you no more. Now living in the world of humans, you acquiesce and merge. You are the perfect blend of ingredients for the life residing within you as you carry the eternal torch of those who’ve travelled inward and downward, emerging alive and integrated. In your essence, you remain a Queen.
You are the triple goddess; all things come from you, you are all things. Demeter you turn the wheel; you created and now you control the seasons. You are the midwife for sister Ceres, to whom Ker is born, the babe and the first stalk of grain. From this comes the first loaf, the first bread and the first taste of the body, enlightened.
We call on you Demeter, to guide us to see the abundance of your cycles, and to touch the gratitude in our souls. We ask for your blessings on our inner food at harvest time, on the bubbling elixirs for transformation and growth. Mother, may we perfect the tilling of our soil, plant our seeds on fertile ground; may we please you and may you always be here to remove in us what does not belong to you.
Journey through Lughnasadh in Gratitude:
Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, put your feet on the floor and breathe into the bottom of your feet, gently calling it into your legs and pelvis. Let the breath pool in the pelvic floor, filling it up with air and then releasing it on the exhale.
Now feel the Earth energy moving up from its core into your feet chakras as you inhale, into the bubbling springs of life, moving through your legs into your Root Chakra and back down into the Earth.
Witness the Earth energy carving and defining its channels, streaming from the bottom of your feet, through your legs, passing the ankle, knee and hip joints; through the Root Chakra and into the Earth again.
Observe and notice how the Earth energy clears stagnant energy from your lower body, taking all things foreign or past-time as it moves out and back into the center of the Earth.
As you exhale, send the unwanted energy down deep into the Mother with great gratitude. She will transmute your dross to gold, giving birth to new and blessed forms, the fruits of your essence. Continue to offer her your dried and dead stalks, slashing and burning, fertilizing and making room for new seedlings of growth.
Breathe in and breathe out, sending gratitude for each cycle of nourishing inspiration and the die-off with expiration.
The information here has been compiled from various personal experiences as well as teachings and information from Kathy Jones’ book “Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess,” Mara Freeman’s book, “Kindling the Celtic Spirit,” and Frank MacEowen’s book, “The Celtic Way of Seeing.”
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